Politics & Policy

The Corner

How Will the Donald Perform Tonight?

We’ll find out tonight if Donald Trump was right when in December 2013 when he told a disbelieving group of political professionals that he would win the presidency while breaking all the rules.

“You can’t run for president on [free] earned media,” one attendee recalled telling Trump.

The billionaire looked up, and paused for a long moment. “I think you’re wrong,” Trump said.

So far Donald Trump has been winning his bet. The latest records field with the Federal Election Commision for the last quarter of 2015 show him spending money in an unorthodox way. He loaned his campaign $10.8 million last quarter and spent $6.9 million of that.

As Politico reports:

A significant portion of that, $940,000, was spent on campaign paraphernalia, including yard signs, bumper stickers, buttons, t-shirts and, of course, hats. In fact, about $450,000 — or nearly 7 percent of all Trump’s fourth-quarter spending — went towards hats, presumably including the now-iconic hats bearing Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

That’s more money than the campaign paid its data vendor L2 (which received $235,000 for “research consulting”) or than it spent on strategy consulting ($281,000). It’s almost as much as the campaign spent on field consulting ($551,000) or payroll ($518,000) . . . his highly unconventional campaign spending is likely to fuel questions about whether his campaign has built enough infrastructure to convert the energy he’s tapped into votes.

We’re about to learn how Trump’s bet plays out in the most intensive retail political environment this season: the Iowa caucuses. Half of me, who loathes the “staff infection” that the Republican consulting class has brought to the party, is rooting for him. The other half, that knows Donald Trump and all of his internal contradictions, is leaning for him to be taught that he can’t break all the rules. 

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More